The French military conducted a series of operations on Thursday, February 6, and Friday, February 7, targeting Al-Qa’ida (AQ) and Islamic State (IS) affiliated groups in Mali. According to the French military, about 20 militants were killed near Gourma and several vehicles were destroyed. Another ten suspected jihadists died during an assault on their stronghold in Liptako. Both operations reportedly involved the use of drones, fighter jets, and attack helicopters.
Similar military operations are expected over the near term.
On Sunday, February 2, French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced that 600 additional soldiers will be deployed into the Sahel to join Operation Barkhane. This will increase the number of French troops in the region to 5100.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, all those present in Mali are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.